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Newmarket’s Open Door charity set for move to High Street base

Newmarket’s Open Door charity is set to move its operations into new premises in the High Street within the next two months.

The charity has signed a lease on the former Moons Toyland store which will see Open Door’s second-hand goods shop move from out of town to a prime site in the centre of Newmarket.

Matthew Tee, Open Door's chief executive, said preliminary work was already under way on the building where, over a period of up to a year, it was planned to house all Open Door's operations under one roof.

Matthew Tee, boss of Newmarket Open Door which is set to move its operations to a new town centre base
Matthew Tee, boss of Newmarket Open Door which is set to move its operations to a new town centre base

"Our priority is to get the shop up and running as soon as we can with the furniture on the ground floor and clothes in a separate area with fitting rooms,” said Mr Tee.

“We aim to make the new premises a bit more orderly and give our staff and customers a warm and dry environment which will be more pleasant than the industrial unit we’ve been in for the last 10 years.”

He added that, over time, the charity would provide meeting and consultation space for its growing outreach programme with young people while they were staying in the Open Door hostel which provides 20 rooms for homeless and vulnerable men and women aged from

16 to 24.

“We provide short-term emergency accommodation before getting them into established social housing of their own, but the support we give them while they are with us really needs to extend beyond the accommodation stage so they don’t need to come back to us,” he said.

The Open Door food bank which is currently operating from a rented area at the Racing Centre would also move into Number 85, as Mr Tee hopes the new centre will become known.

The moves and changes to the building do not come cheap and Mr Tee said he was very grateful for local authority grants, National Lottery funding, donations from local businesses and regular support from people in the racing industry. He said the Jockey Club ran a number of fund-raising events and there had been help from Godolphin to fund the move.

“The lease on Unit Two had come to an end, there was going to be a rent rise and the High Street premises were available. We had to seize the moment,” he said.